Who is At Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

While it is difficult to attribute fault in many motorcycle accidents to a single factor, it is assumed that riders are often to blame. However, drivers of passenger vehicles are most often at fault when a motorcycle accident occurs.

Car and Truck Driver Negligence

In many cases, motorcycle accidents occur due to the negligence of other vehicle drivers sharing the road. Factors contributing to driver negligence include:

  • Failure to check blind spots: Motorcycles are smaller and more maneuverable than cars, making them harder to spot. Vehicle drivers may fail to adequately check their blind spots before changing lanes or making turns, leading to collisions.
  • Left-turn collisions: A significant number of motorcycle accidents occur when vehicles make left turns at intersections without yielding the right of way to oncoming riders. This failure to give motorcyclists sufficient time and space is a common cause of collisions.
  • Distracted driving: Engaging in activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, or using in-car entertainment systems while driving can lead to distracted driving. Distractions reduce a driver’s ability to notice motorcycles on the road, increasing the risk of accidents.

Motorcyclist Negligence

While driver negligence is a prevalent cause of motorcycle accidents, motorcyclist negligence can also contribute to collisions. Some factors that may attribute fault to the motorcyclist include:

  • Speeding: Excessive speeding reduces a motorcyclist’s ability to react to sudden changes in traffic or road conditions, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
  • Lane splitting: Lane splitting is illegal in Nevada and everywhere except California. Many motorcyclists believe that bobbing and weaving from lane to lane to avoid traffic saves time, but it is dangerous. If a motorcyclist causes an accident while lane-splitting, they can be found at fault.
  • Failure to wear protective gear: While not a direct cause of accidents, motorcycle riders who fail to wear a helmet as required by law can be assigned a higher degree of fault for the severity of their injuries.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving, which includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or fatigue, significantly increases the risk of motorcycle accidents. When a driver or motorcyclist operates their vehicle while impaired, their judgment, reaction time, and overall driving skills are compromised. In such cases, fault is typically assigned to the impaired motorist.

Partial Fault in Motorcycle Accidents

In Nevada, motorcycle accidents are subject to comparative fault laws, which means that fault can be allocated to multiple parties involved in the accident. This includes cases where both the motorcyclist and another party, such as an automobile driver, share responsibility for the accident.

Nevada follows a modified comparative negligence system with a 51% bar rule. According to this rule, an injured party can seek compensation as long as their percentage of fault does not exceed 50%. However, if the injured party is found to be 51% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any damages.

When determining fault and allocating percentages of fault in motorcycle accidents, Nevada courts consider various factors, including the actions of each party involved, adherence to traffic laws, speed, visibility, and other relevant circumstances. The court will assess the evidence and arguments presented by both sides to assign fault percentages. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and are curious about your legal rights, speak with an experienced Las Vegas motorcycle accident attorney.